Arab foreign ministers to hold emergency meeting at PA request
Published Sunday 06/04/2014 (updated) 06/04/2014 19:01
BETHLEHEM (Ma'an) -- The foreign ministers of the Arab League member states are scheduled to hold an emergency meeting Wednesday at the request of the Palestinian Authority in order to study the repercussions of the impasse in the peace talks with Israel, according to Egyptian media.
Egypt's al-Ahram daily newspaper quoted a well-placed source as saying that Palestinian Authority president Mahmoud Abbas will ask Arab foreign ministers to give him an answer in 48 hours. If the situation with Israel worsens, Abbas is expected to ask for an emergency Arab League summit, according to al-Ahram.
Nevertheless, a source in the Palestinian president's bureau told al-Ahram that US Secretary of State John Kerry urged Palestinian president Mahmoud Abbas and Israeli premier Netanyahu to "show some self-control" and avoid tit-for-tat moves. Kerry asked both to wait until he meets with US president Barack Obama.
Kerry, added the Palestinian source, confirmed to the Palestinian side that he would exert more efforts to save peace talks and try to start a new round after the April 29 deadline. Kerry also promised to ask the US Congress to avoid imposing sanctions on the Palestinians and to ask Israeli officials to stop the ongoing attack on Abbas after he decided to join UN treaties.
In order to continue with peace talks after April 29, the Palestinian Authority stipulated that Israel freeze settlement construction, release more than 1000 Palestinian prisoners, and put into effect all agreements signed in the past including the one related to crossings, according to the source quoted by al-Ahram.
The statements come amid a wider breakdown in negotiations between Israel and the Palestinian Authority that followed Israel's refusal to release the fourth batch of veteran Palestinian prisoners as promised as part of a trust-building measure to restart US-backed peace talks.
Following Israel's failure to release the group of Palestinian prisoners held in Israeli jails since before the 1993 Oslo Accords, Palestinian officials announced that they had submitted letters of accession to 15 international treaties and conventions.
Peace talks between Israelis and Palestinians were relaunched in July under the auspices of the United States after nearly three years of impasse, but over the course of the talks Israel has announced plans to build thousands of homes in illegal settlements across the West Bank, angering Palestinian and US officials.